DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

MIKE HUGHES

GARY EDGERTON

ROGER CATLIN

KIM AKASS

GERALD JORDAN

TOM BRINKMOELLER

NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
 
 
 
Acorn's 'Delicious' is a Treat Worth Sampling
May 26, 2017  | By David Hinckley
 

The toughest thing with the Brit drama Delicious may be figuring what to call it.

For the moment, let’s go with psycho-soap.

Delicious, which becomes available Friday on the streaming service, Acorn, is a four-part series about betrayal, love, infidelity, families, money, truth, lies and awesome-looking food.

Iain Glen (top), best known for surviving six seasons so far as the perpetually beleaguered Ser Jorah Mormont on Games of Thrones and also a rejected suitor of Lady Mary on Downtown Abbey, here plays Leo Vincent, a high-flying celebrity chef at a posh hotel.

He put the place on the map with his wife Gina (Dawn French, top), who handled much of the non-cooking part. And from whom, Leo cheerfully confesses in a voiceover introduction, he lifted many of what became his signature recipes.

After they married, Gina had a daughter, Teresa (Tanya Reynolds, right), who seems bemused and slightly detached, perhaps because she has a rare condition wherein she’s allergic to getting water on her skin.

She carries an umbrella everywhere. It is never explained how she bathes, though apparently, she does.

Then one day, some 20 years ago, Leo decided he needed a new menu in his life. So he left Gina and married the younger Sam (Emilia Fox, below).

Leo and Sam had a son, Michael (Ruairi O’Connor, below), and over the years most of the people involved made their accommodations with this awkward situation.

That’s the psycho-drama part.

The soap part kicks in around the end of the first episode when a shocking event occurs, and the first of several life-altering revelations cascades down on the characters. And, of course, us viewers too.

Just to list those revelations here, though, would not only be a mean spoiler but would make Delicious sound like one of those deliberately outlandish ‘80s prime-time soaps like Melrose Place, may they rest in peace.

And while it’s true some of the plotlines would sound undeniably similar, Delicious takes a couple of different tacks that are subtle yet critical.

For one, it doesn’t make its characters into cartoons.

Glen, French, and Fox keep Leo, Gina, and Sam in the humanized ballpark, while Reynolds and O’Connor do a nice job as kids who at first are tangled in their parents’ screwups and later manage to perpetrate some of their own.

Special note should go to Sheila Hancock (left) as Mimi Vincent, Leo’s mother, who gets most of the droll lines and delivers them in a spirit worthy of Maggie Smith on Downton.

Informed at one point that there will be an open casket at a funeral, Mimi murmurs, “He was raised in the Church of England specifically to prevent that sort of thing.”

The action in Delicious, which has been renewed for a second season, tends to stay in a reasonably small circle. Something shocking or awful happens, and we figuratively go around the room seeing how everyone reacts to it.

Happily, we’re interested in seeing those reactions even when we’re pretty confident we know what they will be.

Glen does periodic voiceovers throughout the series, some dry and some rather sentimental.

If Delicious has a weak spot, it’s not showing us enough of the gorgeous food on which Leo has built his international reputation.

But by the end of the evening, it has reminded us of the difference between a TV dinner and a good TV meal.

 
 
 
 
 
Leave a Comment: (No HTML, 1000 chars max)
 
 Name (required)
 
 Email (required) (will not be published)
 
 Website (optional)
 
ESJTK
Type in the verification word shown on the image.